What Does the Sphinx Represent?

The Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt is generally believed to be a monument to the Egyptian Pharaoh Khafra. The Egyptians regarded the lion as a god, and the placing of the pharaoh's head on top of a lion's body was meant to suggest that Khafra's nature was also divine.

The Sphinx of Giza is 66 feet high and 240 feet long, making it the largest surviving statue from the ancient world. It is commonly believed to have been built during the reign of Khafra, between 2520 and 2494 B.C.E. Some Egyptologists believe it to be much older, as old as 7000 B.C.E., but this is not the orthodox opinion.

Contrary to popular legend, there are no hidden passageways or chambers beneath the Great Sphinx. Unlike the nearby pyramids the Great Sphynx is not a burial tomb. It is, however, sometimes thought to be a symbolic guard of Khafra's pyramid, which stands directly behind it.

The lion was an important symbol for the Egyptians. At that time, lions roamed Egypt and surrounding areas. They represented power and kingship and were associated with Ra, the sun god. They were also associated with Aker, the god who guarded the gateway to the underworld.